Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Madness of the Democratic Party's Centrism

I thought it was interesting the administration was backing away from the disaster we all know as NAFTA. Here’s the recent uttering of neo-liberal centrism, as reported by Reuters:
It is not necessary to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to honor President Barack Obama's campaign promise to add stronger labor and environmental provisions, said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk … Obama said the United States should use the "hammer" of threatening to withdraw from NAFTA if Canada and Mexico did not agree to change the pact. Although most mainstream U.S. business and farm groups credit NAFTA with boosting U.S. exports and increasing economic efficiency in North America, union groups in many manufacturing states blame the pact for heavy job losses.
Of course the loss of manufacturing jobs is of little concern to free market Republicans who offer the displaced underfunded job retraining programs as the solution to losing ones lively hood. Enter the Democrats. Obama’s threat of withdrawal helped him win an election from a public already afraid of losing their jobs and homes due to the failed U.S. economic direction Bush and the Republicans were taking us. But corporatism has been firmly implanted in the minds of a formerly demoralized Democratic Party, thinking maybe the Republicans had made their case for unfettered globalization in the arena of public opinion, acquiescing to the now failed policy. Ignoring the statistical data below, the conviction less Democrats are now about to throw middle America under the bus according to the Financial Times:

The US recession has opened up the biggest gap between male and female unemployment rates since records began in 1948, as men bear the brunt of the economy’s contraction. Men have lost almost 80 per cent of the 5.1m jobs that have gone in the US since the recession started, pushing the male unemployment rate to 8.8 per cent. The female jobless rate has hit 7 per cent.

It also means that women could soon overtake men as the majority of the US labour force. Men have been disproportionately hurt because they dominate those industries that have been crushed: nine in every 10 construction workers are male, as are seven in every 10 manufacturing workers. These two sectors alone have lost almost 2.5m jobs. Women, in contrast, tend to hold more cyclically stable jobs and make up 75 per cent of the most insulated sectors of all: education and health care.

The widening gap between male and female joblessness means many US families are solely reliant on the income the woman brings in. Since women earn on average 20 per cent less than men, that is putting extra strain on many households.
Just what does it take to get somebodies attention these days?

No comments:

Post a Comment